Chocolate company triumphs

Sophi Tranchell, CEO of Divine Chocolate, has been named Schwab ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year’, the international award for social innovation.

Tranchell was chosen after a rigorous selection process, where she has demonstrated how a much more equitable trading relationship with smallholder farmers in Africa can not only work, but also flourish in highly competitive environments in both UK and USA, and provide a model for a sustainable future for cocoa.

“I am delighted and honoured to have been selected as a Schwab Social Entrepreneur,” said Tranchell. “It gives a powerful and prestigious endorsement to what Divine Chocolate represents – a business model empowering both farmers and consumers which is setting a standard in the highly competitive global chocolate market.

“I am a passionate believer that, in order to secure a sustainable future for many of the foods we take for granted, we need to develop new ways of doing business that put smallholder farmers higher up the value chain. Our dependency on them – to grow our foods, and look after the land, and in turn their dependency on enough income to invest in their families, farms and communities – needs to be properly recognised in the way global trade is done.

“The Schwab award gives us the opportunity to bring this successful example to the attention of a highly influential forum of corporate, political, academic and media leaders who are responsible for shaping and influencing policy at the global level. We want to make sure that Divine can continue to be a catalyst for change.

“A key focus of this forum will be the Sustainable Development Goals, with which Divine Chocolate and its owner, the Kuapa Kokoo farmers’ cooperative in Ghana, are closely aligned – particularly in championing empowerment for women farmers, and nurturing democracy and good governance,” she concludes.

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